Rotini with creamy clam sauce

Makes 4 servings

There’s no cream in this sauce ? it’s just an illusion, thanks to the lush but low-cal ricotta cheese. Keep a can of minced clams in your pantry so you can count on this tasty pasta dish as a last-minute dinner. When I shop in Italian markets, I always pick up a package of long fusilli noodles for this recipe because I love the look of the skinny, 12-inch spirals. However, for convenience, I usually use rotini, which is found in most supermarkets. You?ll find this and many other delicious pasta recipes that can be made in 15 minutes or less in my newest cookbook, The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh.

For the pasta

12 ounces rotini pasta

For the sauce

1 cup milk

½ cup ricotta cheese

2 (6-ounce) cans minced or chopped clams, drained, (reserve ½ cup clam juice)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic

¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

½ teaspoon pepper, or to taste

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly ground pepper, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and halved grape tomatoes for garnish

Cook the pasta according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, stir together the milk, ricotta cheese, and clam juice in a medium bowl.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for ½ minute or until aromatic but not brown. Stir in the ricotta mixture and the clams. Heat until thoroughly warm. Stir in the parsley, basil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper; heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

When the pasta is done, drain well. Return it to the pasta pan, add the clam sauce and Parmesan cheese; stir gently over low heat for 1 minute or until warm.

Serve the pasta in shallow bowls and garnish with pepper, Parmesan cheese, and tomatoes.